Union Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman held her 9th Pre-Budget Consultation meeting with the leading representatives from Water and Sanitation sectors here today in connection with the forthcoming General Budget 2020-21.
Along with the Finance Minister, the said aforesaid meeting was attended by Shri Anurag Singh Thakur, Minister of State for Finance & Corporate Affairs; Shri Atanu Chakraborty, Secretary, DEA; Shri Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Revenue Secretary; Shri Tuhin Kanta Pandey, Secretary, DIPAM; Shri Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary, Department of Drinking water and Sanitation, Shri Amarjeet Sinha, Secretary Ministry Rural Development; Shri V.K. Paul, Member, NITI Aayog; Shri Pramod Chandra Mody, Chairman, CBDT; Dr K.V. Subramanian, CEA, and other senior officials of the Ministry of Finance.
During the aforesaid meeting, discussions were held on challenges faced in providing quality of water, sanitation, solid waste management and drainage in India. Experts also talked about removing disparities in accessing sanitation and quality of water. Experts felt there is a need to scale up rural sanitation and hygiene besides providing sustainable solutions to water scarcity and health issues. Representatives from Water and Sanitation sectors also apprised the Finance Minister of ground realities and gave many suggestions to tackle current challenges. Suggestions were related to areas of maintenance of septic tank; decentralisation of waste management system , focus on waste conservation; a bottom’s up approach for effective implementation of Water , Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programme; demand side management for water allocation; community water management programme in urban areas, focus on behaviour change communication; region-specific differentiated best practices/model; collectivisation of sanitation workers; eco-friendly sewage treatment; measurement of service standards in core services vis-à-vis urban and rural areas; incentivising waste water treatment and recycling; developing capacity to recharge ground water and focusing on women empowerment through health, water and sanitation among others.
The major participants in the aforesaid meeting included Shri Arumugam Pillai Kalimuthu, Managing Trustee, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Institute; Shri Bin Chacko, Manager, Government Relations, World Vision India; Ms Jyoti Sharma, President, FORCE; Shri Manoj Ramchandra Sable, Chief Executive Officer, JAAGAR Enterprises; Shri Shaonli Chakraborty, Swasti, (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene); Shri V.K. Madhavan, Chief Executive Officer, Water Aid India; Ms Sajeev S. Jha, Programme Manager, India Sanitation Coalition, FICCI; Shri Avinash Sapru, Action Aid; Shri Asadullah, Programme Director CBGA; Shri Chandrakant Lahariya, National Professional Officer (Health Care, Access and Protection) to represent WHO India and Shri Nicolas Osbert, Chief Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Section, UNICEF.